Former light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal, is gearing up for another charge towards the division’s elite this Saturday night.
The 34-year-old will face off with the undefeated Eleider Alvarez on the undercard of the WBC championship rematch bout between Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara, with the two winners of the main event and co-feature meeting later on in the year.
Alvarez will be putting his WBC mandatory status with his WBC silver title on the line against Pascal at the Centre Bell in Montreal, Canada. Alvarez was due to be fighting Stevenson for this bout but accepted a step aside fee to allow a voluntary defense for the champion. The bout will air live on Showtime.
The challenger knows this is an opportunity he cannot afford to let slip if he is to put himself back in the mix for a world title once again.
”My goal is to become the WBC number one contender on June 3 and the WBC world champion before the end of the year,” Pascal exclusively told World Boxing News.
”That’s what I’m fighting for. It’s one step at a time.”
Pascal is being touted as the underdog heading into the fight, despite being the more experienced fighter along with already being a light-heavyweight champion. Over the last two years, Pascal has suffered two knockout losses to Sergey Kovalev, he took almost an entire year out of the sport after the second meeting, he bounced back from that with a third-round stoppage victory over Ricardo Marcelo Ramalla in January.
It marked the longest period of inactivity for Pascal in his entire career, but one he believes has benefited him heading into this weekend’s fight.
”I had four fights in 13 months between December 2015 and January 2016, so I didn’t mind taking some time off to rest and re-energize myself,” claimed Pascal.
Pascal isn’t paying any attention to the fact he is being built as the underdog and is solely focused on doing a job in the ring Saturday night.
”I don’t pay attention to that, I don’t care about any of that, said Pascal. ”I’m training to be at my best on June 3 to make sure I win the fight.”
Eleider Alvarez has been a professional for just under eight years and has won all 22 of his bouts. In his last outing, he dispatched of a former opponent of Pascal, in Lucian Bute, Alvarez stopped him inside five rounds, Bute got caught with a big right hand from Alvarez that he didn’t see coming in the 5th round which drilled him to the canvas, he got back to his feet, but the bout was waved off by Marlon B.
”There wasn’t a blueprint on how to beat Chad Dawson when I fought him, and I gave it to the world. I plan to do the same thing on June 3, so if you want to see the blueprint on how to beat Alvarez make sure you tune into Showtime on June 3.”
Pascal knows Alvarez well, that is down to spending numerous rounds in the gym sparring together over the years, but Pascal shrugs off the claim that it will play a factor in their meeting this weekend.
”I know Eleider very well. I trained with his coach for a very long time and the two of us have sparred many times. Alvarez is a very good fighter. He’s the number one contender and undefeated for a reason, I give Alvarez credit for taking the fight. He could have fought anybody and eventually the champion would have to fight him. He didn’t have to take this risk.”
Pascal has been in training once again with Roy Jones Jr, who initially linked up with the former champion for his fight with Lucian Bute back in 2014, he also added Stephane Larouche to the camp, they finished up training in Montreal for the entire training camp.
Many people have written Jean Pascal off from competing with the elite of the light-heavyweight division after his two crushing defeats to former champion Sergey Kovalev. He has been a professional since February 2015, he won his first world title back in June 2009, defeating Adrian Diaconu for the WBC light-heavyweight championship. A year later, defeated the previously undefeated Chad Dawson to unify his WBC strap with Dawson’s IBO title and the vacant lineal and ring magazine crowns.
Despite almost competing in the sport as a professional for over a decade, Pascal stands firm that he is still able to compete, and beat the best that the division has to offer.
”As long as I have gloves on and I’m getting into that ring I’m elite. I have been elite for many years now and will remain on the elite level until I decide to retire.”
When asked if this subject of retirement ever crossed his mind after the losses to Sergey Kovalev, he dismissed it and says he has a full tank to re-surge back for another title run.
”Ask me how much longer I’ll be fighting whenever you think it’s time for me to retire,” laughs Pascal. ”If I didn’t believe and know I have what it takes to become world champion again I wouldn’t be fighting right now.”
”I’m going to win the fight and take care of step one on my path back to the top of the mountain top.”
Cameron Gillon is a contributor to WBN. Follow on Twitter @CameronGillon_